No, that fan favorite pitcher is not Pablo Sandoval. However, there is another former SF Giants hurler who is available and makes some sense on a minor league deal.
Would the SF Giants be interested in a reunion with a fan favorite pitcher?
That pitcher is Yusmeiro Petit. The Giants began the season with a comfortable level of pitching depth including Sam Long, Carlos Martínez , Jakob Junis, and Matthew Boyd. However, Martínez was released before ever throwing a pitch for the organization and Junis is expected to be on the injured list for at least a month with a hamstring strain.
The Giants expected Boyd to miss the first half of the season, but he will likely not be available until August at the earliest after experiencing a flexor strain during a recent bullpen season.
San Francisco has quietly attempted to bolster organizational pitching depth with a handful of minor league signings including Shelby Miller, Matt Hall, and Ofelky Peralta. Miller has considerable major league experience, whereas Hall has appeared briefly in parts of three seasons with the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox. All provide a cushion of depth in the upper minors for now.
This leads to Petit, who is a free agent after a brief stint in the San Diego Padres organization. Miller, Hall, and Peralta give the Giants depth, but none of the three have the predictability that Petit offers.
The right-handed hurler struggled to find his niche early in his career, but carved out a very nice role for the Giants in the mid-2010's and has continued to be a quality bulk innings reliever. With the Giants, Peitt posted a 3.66 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 1.12 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, and a 4.62 SO/W ratio across four seasons.
The 37-year-old hurler had several memorable moments in a Giants uniform including almost pitching a perfect game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Petit recorded 8.2 perfect innings before yielding a hit to Eric Chavez to lose it. That last out is always the hardest to get!
Of course, Giants fans fondly remember the six scoreless innings in extra innings that he tallied in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals in 2014. The Giants won that game thanks to a solo shot by Brandon Belt in the 18th inning, but Petit's outing kept them in the game.
The veteran reliever departed via free agency after the 2015 season and made stops with the Nationals (2016), Los Angeles Angels (2017), and the Oakland A's (2018 - 2021). Despite his age, Petit continues to be an effective arm as he posted a 3.92 ERA, 4.72 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 4.3 K/9, and a 3.08 SO/W ratio in 78 innings last season.
Petit is not a flashy pitcher. He does not boast premium fastball velocity nor does he accumulate strikeouts at a high rate. These factors might scare off a few teams. That said, he excels at throwing strikes and avoiding the sweet spot of the bat. The front office does tend to target pitchers who attack the strike zone like Petit. On a minor league deal, he makes a lot of sense for the Giants.
Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Cobb are set to return to the rotation soon. Still, the Giants have built a rotation around considerable injury risk, meaning that they might need to tap into that depth soon enough. Petit could be that fallback option. Plus, the addition of Petit would mark the return of a fan favorite. It is a move that gives the Giants extra predictability with no downside.